Yesterday, for the first time, I visited the Valley Wine Shack in Sonoma.
They opened their doors late in 2008 and I can’t believe I had never been. I’ve driven by hundreds of times and looked at the sign out front that says “300 wines under $25”. All the while I’m thinking, I don’t need to go in there, I live in wine country. I have access to hundreds of great wines. Right?
Yes, I have access to so many wineries it’s nearly impossible to visit them all. But what the Valley Wine Shack offers is countless international offerings at great prices. That is their niche. And it’s perfect. They couldn’t have opened at a better time. A time when almost everyone was re-evaluating what they drank on a daily basis and how much those bottles cost. As far as I can tell, their business is doing very well.
With a little help from a very friendly staff member, I picked out a pair of wines for yesterdays visit with family. I knew I wanted a bright white wine for afternoon sipping and a bigger red to go with the espresso rubbed steak we were having for dinner. In just a few minutes I had my selections and was on my way.
Torrontes is an indigenous white grape to Argentina. This wine displayed aromas of rose petals, orange zest and diesel / petrol with flavors of grapefruit, lemon and honeydew melon. From the white wines I’m familiar with it was like a cross between Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc. An amazing sipping wine for just $8.99!
Then, with dinner: Le Nevera Grenache from Spain.
I had a Spanish Grenache a few weeks ago and decided that one would be a good match with our dinner last night. This one retailed for $10.67. I was utterly amazed of the quality of wine for this price. The balance of acidity, tannin and fruit were very well executed. The nose was all cigar box and spices, but once the wine opened up in the glass some dark fruits like cherry and black raspberry made their way to the forefront. It paired very well with the espresso rubbed tri-tip.
I hate to use the word value, because I really think that has a negative connotation, but these two wines truly are a great value. And I think that’s where the international wines shine. It’s also great to see the style of other countries and their wines. One thing is for sure, I will be visiting the Valley Wine Shack again and looking for more wines that fall in this category.